Every relationship is unique but the best have something in common.
Did you know that there are four specific habits that all successful relationship share?
I’ll teach you how to cultivate these habits in yourself to improve your own relationship.
First off, I want to talk about what doesn’t matter in a relationship…similarity. I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here but this is something that I care about: you’re more than just a series of traits.
That’s why online dating apps based on complex matchmaking all lost out to tinder, a simple “yes or no” system. The idea that we can break down our opinions, beliefs and preferences into a series of ones and zeros, just isn’t true.
In fact, whether you believe you want a partner the same as you, or think that opposites attract–you’re falling into the same trap. Namely that we’re able to easily spot people who are “like us” or “not like us”. In practice, understanding another person takes a lifetime and when it comes down to it, similarity just doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the success of a relationship.
So, now that we have that out of the way. What are the four habits that all successful relationships have in common? Before we go any further I want to note that these habits are important for both men and women and must be practiced by both partners in a relationship. If only one of you has these habits, then your relationship is going to be in serious trouble.
Open communication is extremely important in relationships, but what makes communication work is open mindedness. If you know that your partner has an open mind, you won’t be worried about judgment so you’ll be free to really speak your mind.
An open mind is a willingness to hear someone else’s side of the story, a lack of prejudice, and a desire to understand rather than judge. Having an open mind is an important aspect of empathy and trust.
It also goes a long way to be able to give your partner the benefit of the doubt, meaning that you’re more able to forgive because you understand that your partner is doing the best they can.
Whereas the opposite, a close minded partner, will be unwilling to change their mind, behaviour, or opinions. This means that conflict will be particularly difficult and often end in a stalemate.
Accepting Emotional Bids
Studies have shown that people in successful relationships accept each other’s emotional bids much more often than those in unhappy relationships.
An emotional bid is any offering, no matter how small, of emotional connection, intimacy or camaraderie. A bid can be anything from telling someone you love them, to saying “nice day, isn’t it?”
Accepting a bid is voicing your agreement, playing along, and being on their side. So if the emotional bid is “nice day out” then accepting that bid could mean saying “yeah, maybe we should go for a walk later” or simply just “yes”.
Rejecting a bid would be ignoring the comment, disagreeing, or belittling them.
The bottom line is that you need to cultivate this sense of acceptance with your partner as much as possible. Start to see your partner’s comments for what they really are… an olive branch, and learn to accept them.
The idea of emotional bids can be overwhelming especially when you realize it’s something we all do without thinking about it a hundred times a day. But the good thing is, once you’ve realized it, it’s easy to say “yes” to emotional bids even more.
A little disclaimer…you shouldn’t ignore your own feelings and agree with your partner no matter what but pick your battles and understand that for the most part, conversation is just idle chatter. Whether you agree isn’t going to change much in the real world, but it can have a huge impact on your intimacy.
In the same vein, accepting emotional bids can come in the form of forgiving your partner for their mistakes.
Trusting each other
I don’t have to tell you that trust is the cornerstone of all relationships. Attraction is important but without trust, you cannot build a life together. This is because building a relationship requires us to put ourselves out there emotionally. Moments like saying “I love you” for the first time cannot happen without trust.
Trust begets more trust so be reliable, give your partner a reason to trust you, and show them you trust them in return.
This is what separates the temporary relationships from those that last.
Selflessness requires sacrifice and a willingness to do whatever it takes to support your partner. It’s easy to treat them right when it doesn’t cost you anything.
True selflessness means that you’re willing to miss the big game to look after your partner when they’re sick. It means dropping everything to bring them an extra shirt at work after they spill soup all over themselves.
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And more than anything, it means doing these things without complaint because their happiness really is the most important thing to you.
If you have a partner who can be truly selfless, you won’t need to worry what might happen if you get diagnosed with cancer, lose your job, or get convicted of a crime. You just know that they’re going to be there for you no matter what.